Monday, August 29, 2016

Pics: Foix (pronounced fwah)

me and the castle

Elder Preator and I at the summit

the valley from the castle tower (we hiked that triangular hill in the middle)

before the ascent (of the hill behind us)

Foix from the castle

Mountains are dangerous and pretty

Hey yous mugs. I'm writing you from the train in the small town of
Foix, and it has been a crazy adventure of a p-day. Foix is a town
about 90 km south of Toulouse, like two thirds of the way to Andorra
or Spain. We came down here to do some pass backs and to do some fun
stuff on p-day, and oh man did we.

We came with the other équipe in our ward, namely Elder Beck (who was
in my first district) and Elder Shimazaki. Elder Shimazaki is in his
first transfer and Elder Beck is in his last, so it's an interesting
combination. While walking from the gare to the neighborhood where we
thought a less-active woman lived, Elder Beck noticed a cool looking
hill/peak thing. We had come down here to the foot of the Pyrénées to
do some hiking as well, and it was decided that we would hike up it.

So we did! Got really scratched up in blackberry bushes, but ça va. Here are pictures!

Spiritual thought: There is a peace and a joy that comes with being 100% obedient. It's all about sacrificing something good for something better, and when you keep that perspective, it's bittersweet but mostly sweet. If everyone had that perspective, it would be 100% sweet. Think about that one for a while :)

Love yoooouuuuu
Elder Jensen

Monday, August 22, 2016

Shoutout to all of y'alls

Dear family and friends,

I'm old because my little sister is starting college. That is all.

开玩笑 but actually it's a weird feeling. So is being a missionary though, my life is full of weird things.

This week was pretty good, we had some really cool stuff happen! We currently have a big push in the mission to teach 20 lessons every week, so we decided to try to see our engagée three times last week instead of the normal one or two. It went really well and she's progressing very smoothly, I expect she'll be baptized within the transfer :) This is the miracle amie that we found when she accidentally called the bishop's office, by the way.

We saw a less-active from the Central African Republic on Tuesday when I was on exchange with Elder McKenzie, who is from a small town in central Idaho. He loves the church, but doesn't dare come to church or even read the scriptures very much because his family is really against it. It's super sad, I wish there was more we could do to help :( Also during that exchange we had a cool miracle....more on that later

Wednesday was district meeting! It went really well, despite kind of running out of stuff to say 20 minutes before the end. After a little hemming and hawing we had Soeur Grant, who would be going home three weeks early for school and who is currently all alone on an airplane over the Eastern United States, bear her testimony about what the mission has meant to her. It was really great. After the meeting we tried to make stir fry but failed. It tasted good anyway.

Thursday night we had Ward Council, which was pretty good. We got a list of les actives in the ward that we and the other equipe of Elders can try to help out, so expect news on that soon!

Friday: good. We saw a Taiwanese lady near some young Koreans outside a Japanese garden. She's not so hip on joining the Church, but she's alright to discuss things, plus I need to practice my Chinese. I talked to Elder Zhu on the phone in Chinese the other day and my Chinese is definitely rougher than it was in Lyon.

Saturday it rained so we didn't have Samedi Sportif, but we did have a cool miracle that goes along with the one I mentioned earlier!

Here goes miracle number one: Elder McKenzie and I stopped this young adult-looking dude with a cool beard and get talking with him. He spoke great English because American movies. Also Spanish because he's half French half Peruvian. Pretty keen guy. We talked for a long time and ended up teaching the entire Restoration of the Church, gave him a Book of Mormon, exchanged phone numbers, and invited him to Samedi Sportif. It was a full, impromptu lesson on the street, and those are hard to come by!

Miracle number two: Elder Preator and I go to see this less active that apparently no one knows. He was at home when we dropped by, so he let us in to chat. He's a super ripped Nigerian guy and he had his Italian friend over just randomly when we came. We talked with them a bit and then shared our "spiritual thought." That "spiritual thought" turned out to be, again, the entire Restoration of the Church. The Italian guy (who spoke perfect French) was pretty intrigued and asked for an Italian Book of Mormon and Bible, both of which we had at the apartment. We'll be seeing him again this week, we're pretty sure :)

Just goes to show that when you make a commitment to accomplish something, the Lord gives you a way to do it! We wanted to accomplish that goal of 20 lessons in a week, and here we had two miracle teachings of the Restoration, our central and most important message, both completely unexpected. God is good :)

Also, thanks to everyone for the kind letters and fun news! You help me more than you know :)

Bonne semaine 大家!

Con todo mi amor,

Monday, August 15, 2016

No much stuff, is very sorry

Hey everyone!

I'm really out of time, but we had a pretty alright week. Elder Preator and I are having a good time, and the work is moving along. We had a good rendez-vous with our engagée because she wasn't answering her phone, so we just went to her house anyway! We sat outside and read the Book of Mormon with her, it went really well. She wasn't able to come to church because she was busy helping her parents who have pas mal de problems, but she'll hopefully be able to come soon.

And yeah that's all I've got time for! I'm really sorry, but honestly this week was slower so it's ça va.

Here's your little spirit boost of the day: if you have been checking the Gospel Library app lately, you may have noticed that they added the Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley! I read through his biography at the beginning, and remembered learning about him and from him when I was younger. He was a prophet! I know that's true, and I know that Thomas S. Monson, our current prophet, is called of God. He's a person like any of us, but he has a very special responsibility and has been qualified accordingly. President Monson leads and guides this church under the direction of Jesus Christ, and I know that anyone in the world, member of the Church or not, will receive blessings from the Lord by following his council. It's true, try it!

Love y'all!

Monday, August 8, 2016

Things are going

Hey y'all. First off, I must correct a grievous wrong: in my last letter, I spelled my collègue's name wrong. It's actually Elder Preator. My bad.

We had a good week! Elder Preator showed up in Toulouse pretty soon after we got to the gare and we got lunch and things were dandy. We're getting along great, and he's really excited to do the work which helps me a lot!

We visited our Chinese less-active's shoe shop and asked if there was anything we could do for her, so she let us down into the basement where we spent a while collapsing a mountain of cardboard boxes. We were able to clear a path, but we didn't even do half of it. It was pretty fun :)

On Wednesday we went "plant contacting." Backstory: with Elder Peron, I always talked about getting plants for our apartment, but we never did.....UNTIL NOW

Isn't it beautiful?

Basically we just went into plant shops and talked to the people about getting a plant for our apartment and explaining who we are as missionaries. It was fun!

On Thursday we had POWER HOUR which is just one hour of really intense contacting instead of an entire day of kinda wishy-washy contacting. It's really effective and leaves a lot of time to teach lessons, do area book work, or visit members. That's been going well, Elder Preator's been giving me good tips he learned from his MTC teachers or from his trainer. We've been doing some fun (read: hard) role plays for contacting and starting teaching, it's been really helpful.

Friday our plans kinda all fell through, but we did some stuff anyway. Elder Beck (in my district when I first came into the mission and is now in his last transfer) and his new blue Elder Shimazaki (been in the mission for a week) are the 2nd équipe of Elders in the ward, so we got them up to speed on some of the members and how the work is here. We also made tacos! Real Mexican-American tacos, not the kebab burrito things that are called "tacos" here in France.

Saturday we played basketball in the morning for Samedi Sportif with some dudes that we played with last week, it was actually pretty fun! Made a three-pointer, so yeah I'm cool and humble too. We saw a less-active from Togo that afternoon and then went straight to the house of some members who were having their 30th anniversary party. They invited a ton of the ward and a bunch of their non-member friends, so naturally all the missionaries were there as well. It was amazing! :) We met a dude with the most incredible story: He lived as a young man in Palm Springs, California, but he was there illegally. He got caught after a while and despite being a French citizen, was deported to Mexico. He escaped back across the border up to Santa Barbara, but then had some other complications and so he rode a bicycle from there down back to Mexico and just kept riding until the road ended because it hit a mountain range. He starting walking up the mountain and met a man with a pickup truck who offered him a ride. He accepted, but only spoke like 4 words of Spanish so didn't understand where he was going. Ends up getting dropped off at 5 a.m. in the poor sketchy part of Guadalajara and stays there for a while. He takes a Spanish class and learns really quickly, meets some other French dudes, they all go to meet some ladies and one of them becomes this guy's wife. 35 years later, they are living happily ever after just outside of Toulouse. There were some other details I missed, but you get the idea. Interesting people at this party.

Church was good, my companion got asked to play the piano in Primary so we got to spend third hour up there and oh my goodness I've never seen a crazier bunch of kids in my life. It was soooooo funny, I'm just infinitely grateful I wasn't the one trying to teach! Kids are um great.

This spiritual thought is one for YOU to go look up: compare the scripture Moroni 7:46 "If ye have not charity..." with Matthew 5:13, "Ye are the salt of the earth..." There are some wonderful insights to be had in comparing Christ's direct teachings from the New Testament with the Book of Mormon, another witness of Him.

I wish you all happy pondering :)

Elder Jensen

Monday, August 1, 2016


I have a very great lack of time, so I'll be really brief today. You might be wondering what happened in terms of transfers, and the big news is that I'm staying in Concorde! My awesome French companion Elder Peron is off to Perpignan and I received Elder Praetor, a very musical guy from Minnesota. He played the piano part for Rhapsody in Blue, which I just can't imagine ever doing. He's been in the mission for 6 weeks, so he's still a blue :) We're going to have a great transfer together!

I want to talk a little bit about love. I can feel Heavenly Father's love for me in a lot of different ways, particularly through answers to my prayers. I've been praying consistently for some pretty specific blessings lately for people back home, and I keep getting emails telling me that those blessings are coming even when these people had no idea that's what I was praying for! It's such a testimony-builder to me every time I get to see so clearly the blessings of the Lord in my life and in the lives of others. The other way I feel our Father's love is through the love other people show me. As we just celebrated both my birthday and my old companion's birthday, we've been feeling a lot of love from other missionaries, from members, and from friends and family members back home. I just want to give a big shoutout to all you great people who are reading this and testify that our Father in Heaven is mindful of our situations and He loves you! He will take care of you even when you think He won't or hasn't. Keep the faith and one day you'll see.

"But, behold, Zion hath said: The Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me—but he will show that he hath not.

For can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea,they may forget, yet will I not forget thee, O house of Israel.

Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me."
(1 Nephi 21:14-16)

Love y'all :)